(CN) - Men and women are becoming more alike in their drinking habits, the National Institutes of Health says in a new study.
"Males still consume more alcohol, but the differences between men and women are diminishing," said Aaron White, Ph.D., a senior scientific advisor for NIH's National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in announcing the results.
According to a study of data from 2002 to 2012, the gap between men and women is narrowing in the categories of alcohol consumption, number of drinking days per month, driving under the influence of alcohol, and reaching criteria for an alcohol use disorder.
NIAAA Director George Koob, Ph.D., said the study's finding are concerning because women are at greater risk than men for alcohol-related health problems, such as cancer, liver inflammation, neurotoxicity and cardiovascular disease.
The study found that 48.3 percent of women drank alcohol compared to 56.1 percent of men, and the number of drinking days was 7.3 days for women and 9.5 percent for men.
These numbers increased for women and decreased for men, as did the number of non-college binge drinkers between the ages of 18 and 25.
The only study category in which the gender gap became greater concerned the use of alcohol and marijuana together.
"The prevalence of combining alcohol with marijuana during the last drinking occasion among 18- to 25-year-old male drinkers increased from 15 percent to 19 percent," White said.
The number of women combining alcohol and marijuana remained steady at 10 percent, according to White.
The NIAAA researchers called for additional studies to determine the causes of these trends, as the tests were controlled for variables such as employment, marital status and pregnancy.